It’s a nice change of pace to see players respecting their country instead of sitting during the anthem. Reports are claiming that various players in the NFL will be wearing commemorative 9/11 cleats. The NFL has decided to fine those players for not following the uniform policy, but the police union has decided to stand behind those players supporting the 15th anniversary of 9/11 by offering to pay their fines.
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One case, in particular, involves Tennesse Titan linebacker, Avery Williamson. Williamson was told by the NFL that if he wears any cleats other than the team approved ones, he will be fined to the maximum amount. The Port Authority Police Benevolent Association wasn’t having any of that. The Police Benevolent Association and another police union say they will pay Williamson’s fines.
“The PAPD is the police department that has always patrolled the World Trade Center complex. On September 11, 2001, the PAPD lost 37 police officers at the World Trade Center, the largest, single loss ever suffered by a police department in the history of American law enforcement,” the union said in a statement. “We read, with understandable interest, your piece on Avery Williamson and the NFL’s stance on Avery honoring the September 11th victims. We, along with the New Jersey State Police Benevolent Association, are offering to pay any reasonable fine levied by the NFL if Avery chooses to wear his 9/11 cleats.”
Public response to the news of these fines has created a backlash towards NFL commissioner Rodger Goodell. Many are angered that Goodell won’t allow players to wear the cleats in memory of the horrific events of 9/11.
Williams doesn’t want to create any trouble, “I don’t want to draw negative attention, so I’m just going to focus on playing the game,” Williamson said. “Once I heard from them, I didn’t even try to argue anything. I just left it alone. I didn’t want to press the issue.” It is unclear if Williams intends to wear the cleats for Sunday’s game. Williams does plan to auction off the cleats and to give the proceeds to Wishes For Warriors.
Both sides can make a reasonable argument for or against uniform “violations,” but the NFL would probably be wise to let this one go without a fine. Obviously, fines are left to the discretion of the league as there was no fine when Colin Kaepernick wore socks that depicted cops as pigs earlier in the preseason.
If the league supports breast cancer by allowing the players to wear pink in October, then it is only fair that the league allow players to support and remember the attacks on 9/11.